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Short NBA season ended with solid playoff matchups

The sprint to the NBA playoffs is over and the postseason lineup is one of the most intriguing.

LeBron James vs. Carmelo Anthony, the young and confident Oklahoma City Thunder looking for an early knockout against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, two Los Angeles teams shooting for one title and the venerable San Antonio Spurs looking for a second lockout-season title.

Yes, the shortened yet surprisingly successful regular season is the books and the playoffs promise to be better.

“I think our fans are hungry for the playoffs,” Commissioner David Stern said. “Our network partners are excited by the prospect, and you know, I think, I can tell you, I’m looking forward to it in the same way.”

It starts today with the Chicago Bulls, the overall No. 1 seed, hosting Philadelphia. Then it’s Miami against New York, with James and Anthony just a couple of the big names in a series loaded with star power.

Also today, the Indiana Pacers host the Orlando Magic before the Mavericks visit the Thunder in the nightcap.

The other four series start Sunday. San Antonio hosts Utah in the opener, followed by the Lakers against Denver. Boston visits Atlanta before Memphis welcomes the Clippers.

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